by Meghan Fitzgerald
Even before we welcomed our first daughter into the world, Brian and I were deeply concerned about what we felt were alarming trends in childhood: increased pressure to master skills earlier; a decrease in free time and opportunities to explore, experiment and take risks; a disconnect with the natural world; and an ever mounting amount of screentime. These imbalances put at risk children’s chances to develop the cognitive, physical and social/emotional skills they will need to navigate and better an increasingly complex world.
Once our oldest was born, so was our inspiration to do something about this problem. And, in our local park in Brooklyn, we took our shot at an answer. Drawing on our own professional experience and our new experience as parents, we started to teach Tinkergarten. We hoped to give our daughter the best foundation we could, and we vowed to share what we were learning about the power of playful learning in the great outdoors with other like-minded families.
Now with 3 children (6, 4 and 2), we’ve never been more dedicated to our mission. And, over these past few years, we’ve seen our action in that one park grow into a fast-growing movement, carried by like minded educators and parents across the country. Today, a network of nearly 400 talented leaders across 34 U.S. states offer Tinkergarten classes, helping kids get the foundation they deserve and helping parents learn more about how to support that development. We’ve welcomed great educators, a wide range of active community members, and some wildly creative people to help us build and refine our curriculum, strengthen our community, and improve how kids and parents learn together, both online and on the ground.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of More Than Mudpies—a blog dedicated to demystifying early childhood and sharing both the ideas that inspire us and the discoveries that we make each day. We hope that this blog will help us give you and all members of our community access to even more food for thought about supporting child development and the simple, yet powerful impact of outdoor play on people, young and old.
We hope you find More than Mudpies both fun and meaningful. If you find something helpful, please share it—we’ll make more. If you have ideas for how to make it better, don’t be shy, we’d love to hear and learn from you.
Thank you again for being the pioneers who have joined in this adventure with us and so many other families who play and learn outdoors together. We can’t wait to write more stories together.